Oral Cancer Screening
Oral cancer is a silent killer, and a disease that many people never realize they have until it is in a progressive stage. Although oral cancer has always been linked with risk factors like alcohol and tobacco use, it is also associated with things like sun exposure and HPV.
Early Detection is Key to Disease Prevention and Treatment
Every dental check-up also includes an oral cancer screening by Dr. Timmerman. During this exam we screen for abnormal and precancerous tissues so that patients can have early treatment. The earlier the treatment, the more effective it is likely to be. Dr. Timmerman thoroughly inspects the tissues for normal textures, functioning, and areas that appear abnormal or unlike the tissues surrounding them.
“Most of the time oral cancer does not immediately present itself as a painful large growth that patients find on their own. It is usually exhibited in very small areas that go unnoticed by the patient but I am trained to identify. The earlier the disease can be diagnosed, the more effective and less invasive the care process can be that leads to recovery. This is important.”
—Dr. Lance Timmerman
A Silent and Deadly Disease
Oral cancer typically appears in tissues like:
- White or red lesions, sores, or ulcers that are present on one side of the mouth but not the other
- Sores that do not heal within 2 weeks
- Lumps, bumps, or indentations
- Loss of the defined border of the lip
Should Dr. Timmerman identify any abnormal tissues, we typically recommend a follow up in 2 weeks to reassess the area for any changes in the tissue. If abnormal findings are still present, Dr. Timmerman may conduct a biopsy that is sent to one of our labs for further inspection.
What Causes Oral Cancer?
Although oral cancers are closely related to gum disease and can appear for unknown reasons in otherwise healthy individuals, some of the most common links to oral cancer development include these risk factors:
- Viruses like HPV
- Poorly fitting prostheses like dentures
- Frequent sun exposure
- Alcohol and tobacco consumption
Have you noticed an irritation or irregular area on the tissues inside of your mouth? Please don’t wait until it’s too late. Call our Seattle dental office for a comprehensive exam and oral cancer screening to put your mind at ease. Dr. Timmerman provides oral cancer screenings as a part of every new and existing patient exam – because we feel that it’s one of the most important preventive services that we can offer when it comes to the lives of our patients.